A Travellerspoint blog

A Day in a City of Contrasts

Toyko, Japan

Tokyo is a unique and dynamic city that offers a diverse range of experiences and opportunities for both residents and visitors. Its contrasts between the old and new, its advanced technology and infrastructure, and its rich cultural heritage make it a fascinating city to explore. Tokyo is a blend of the past and the future, with historic neighborhoods and traditional wooden temples standing alongside modern glass buildings and cutting-edge architecture. Despite having a similar size to New York City, Tokyo is renowned for its cleanliness, with rooftop parks and green spaces scattered throughout the metropolitan area, as well as its impressive infrastructure. My brother Jack, nephew David and son-in-law Steve would appreciate the fact that every truck we saw appeared as though it had just come off the showroom floor, including the garbage trucks. Jeff marveled at how even the frames were immaculate!


[I think others in the bus were wondering why is this woman taking all these photos of trucks! [ ...and Jack - interestingly, as I'm writing this the band is playing "yellow bird" :) ]

Our initial destination in Tokyo was a visit to the Imperial Palace grounds, encircled by moats, imposing stone walls, and stone bridges. While the palace itself remained concealed from sight, the surroundings, including unique Black Pines, offered a serene oasis amidst the vibrant city.


We first stopped at the bronze statue of the renowned samarai, celebrated for his unwavering loyalty to Emperor Go-Daigo, which added a touch of historical significance to the area.


Continuing our exploration of the Imperial Palace grounds, we came across a captivating sight: the Nijūbashi bridges, also known as "double bridges." This name stems from the original bridge being constructed atop another wooden bridge, creating the illusion of two separate structures. The setting, enhanced by the towering stone walls and blossoming trees, was a pleasant surprise on an unexpectedly warm day in the heart of Tokyo.


On our way to the next stop we moved through the Ginza shopping district where one square meter (about 10 sq. ft.) of property costs 360,000 dollars. Every high-end store you could imagine lined the streets as well as Michelin restaurants and the home of the grand performing art of kabuki.

As we approached the final tour stop, I almost thought Jeff was going to have a panic attack when he saw the crowd - not one square inch of breathing space.


Considering Tokyo's population of 13 million, it seemed like every single person was at the Sensoji Temple today. It is a colorful Buddhist Temple know for its curative powers of smoke that billows from the bronze urn burning incense. According to legend, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon out of the Sumida River in 628, and despite their efforts to return it to the river, the statue kept coming back to them. They eventually enshrined the statue in a small hut, which marked the beginning of Sensoji Temple. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple.


There was a brief parade that we enjoyed in front of the temple (this is called being at the right spot at the right time!)


Throughout the day we caught glimpses of the locals, many dressed in beautiful komonos and even a few wedding couples.


Tokyo is a must-see destination with a captivating fusion of traditional and contemporary elements, boasting excellent infrastructure such as the renowned bullet train, alongside picturesque parks, thus ensuring an unforgettable visit.

Posted by Where2FromHere 09:59 Archived in Japan

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